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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Brad Bates, BC athletic director, won’t return next year; DeMarcus Cousins says goodbye to Sacramento 02.21.17 at 9:42 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

NHL: Chicago at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Purdue at Penn State, 6 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: URI at La Salle, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Clemson at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: South Carolina at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Davidson at Richmond, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Illinois, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: St. John’s at Marquette, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: East Carolina at Tulane, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Indiana at Iowa, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Mississippi at Mississippi State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado State at New Mexico, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)


— Boston College athletic director Brad Bates announced on Monday he won’t return to the school after  his contract is up at the end of the school year. He plans to join Collegiate Sports Associates, an executive search and consulting firm in North Carolina as the vice president.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Boston College and am especially grateful for the opportunity to serve the University,” Bates said in a statement. “I will forever be an Eagle and a fan of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, and will cherish the great relationships that I have made here.”

Both the Boston College basketball and football teams saw some of their worst seasons in history during his tenure. In the 2015-2016 season, neither team won an ACC game for the first time in over 70 years.

However, other BC teams found success under his leadership. The men’s soccer team reached the Elite Eight in 2015, the women’s hockey team made it to the national championship game in 2016, baseball got to the Super Regional in 2016 and men’s hockey reached the Frozen Four in 2014 and 2016.

“The Jesuit, Catholic education offered at BC is distinctive in higher education and epitomizes the very best of college athletics,” the statement also read. “I feel privileged to be a part of this community.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Jack Parker to announce his retirement on Monday 03.10.13 at 7:09 pm ET
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Boston University hockey coach Jack Parker will take the occasion of his 68th birthday to announce his retirement Monday, according to a report by ESPN.

The college hockey coaching legend has coached the Terriers for 40 seasons, winning three national championships and leading BU to 24 NCAA hockey tournament berths, more than any coach in history.

His 894 career victories are the most by a coach with one school, and third most all-time, trailing current Boston College coach Jerry York and former Michigan State coach Ron Mason.

Under Parker, BU also won seven Hockey East titles and 21 Beanpot championships. This season has been an up-and-down campaign for Parker’s Terriers. They finished the regular season with an 18-15-2 mark, and will face Merrimack in the quarterfinals of the Hockey East tournament next weekend.

The Terriers suffered two bad losses in the Beanpot this year when they were beaten by Northeastern and Harvard in back-to-back Mondays in February, finishing in last place. Below is Parker’s post-game press conference from the Northeastern loss on Feb. 4.

The last 18 months have been difficult for Parker and his legacy at the Boston hockey institution. A report commissioned by the school concluded that hockey players were given star treatment and lived in a “culture of sexual entitlement”, chronicling several inappropriate incidents. The report was commissioned after two BU players were charged with sexual assault, in different incidents, less than three months apart.

The report did not conclude that Parker knew of the inappropriate behavior, but led to Parker vacating his title as executive athletic director.

Read More: boston college, boston university, Jack Parker, Jerry York
BC handles Harvard, earns Beanpot title date with Northeastern 02.04.13 at 10:37 pm ET
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Quinn Smith scored twice and senior goalie Parker Milner stopped 19-of-20 shots as Boston College advanced to its fourth consecutive Beanpot title game with a 4-1 victory over Harvard in Monday night’s nightcap at TD Garden. The Eagles dominated the game, outshooting Harvard 46-20.

The fifth-ranked Eagles (16-7-2) will face underdog Northeastern, which upset Boston University, 3-2, in Monday’s first game.

After Harvard (5-15-1) had a couple of early scoring chances in the first period, the Eagles dominated the game the rest of the way. BC finally broke the ice when Smith parked himself in the low slot in front of Raphael Girard and collected the puck from Patrick Wey. Smith beat Girard up top glove side for the 1-0 lead with just 28.8 seconds left in the first. BC carried the play in the final 15 minutes of the period and outshot Harvard 15-8 in the first period.

Girard kept Harvard close in the second, but the Crimson could not capitalize on a pair of power plays. Late in the period, BC put the game out of reach with a pair of goals 51 seconds apart.

Smith scored his second of the game and fourth of the season at 18:18 of the second. Less than a minute later, with BC on the power play, Michael Matheson beat Girard from the right circle to make it 3-0 Eagles. Boston College held a 31-14 shots advantage after 40 minutes.

Harvard senior Danny Biega ruined the shutout for Milner and BC with his first of the season with a goal at 9:17 of the third. But Steven Whitney got that marker back with an unassisted goal of his own with 5:02 left in the game.

BC will look for its fourth straight Beanpot next Monday night and its fifth in six years while Northeastern will be gunning for it’s first since 1988 and just its fifth in school history.

Read More: 2013 Beanpot, boston college, Harvard University, northeastern
Hurricanes sign former BC goalie John Muse to 1-year deal 06.07.12 at 4:25 pm ET
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Former Boston College goaltender John Muse, who won two national championship with the school, has signed a one-year deal with the Hurricanes, according to a report from NBC17 in North Carolina.

Muse will be paid $525,000 at the NHL level and will also receive a $10,000 bonus.

‘€œJohn is a proven winner, having captured championships on both the collegiate and professional levels,’€ said Ron Francis, VP of the Hurricanes. ‘€œHe excelled in his first professional season with the Checkers and Everblades, and adds to our organization’€™s goaltending depth.’€

Muse recently completed a season in which he split with Charlotte of the American Hockey League and Florida in the ECHL. Sharing goaltending duties with Pat Nagle, Muse helped Florida reach the Kelly Cup championship in which he won the Kelly Cup MVP.

Read More: boston college, Hurricanes, John Muse, Rumor Mill
Maryland’s Pete DeSouza will miss season after crash; Terps face BC Saturday 10.22.10 at 1:41 pm ET
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Maryland offensive lineman Pete DeSouza will miss the rest of the season for the Terrapins after a driving accident on Thursday night, the AP reports. DeSouza was hit by a turning car while the 6-foot-3, 310-pound lineman was driving a motor scooter through campus, fracturing bones in both lower legs. The driver of the car was issued a traffic citation.

DeSouza will undergo surgery on Friday and he will miss the rest of the football season, although he is expected to make a full recovery. DeSouza played in five games at right tackle for Maryland while starting the last three.

Boston College (2-4, 0-3 ACC) will face Maryland (4-2, 1-1 ACC) in Alumni Stadium on Saturday. Maryland lost last week to Clemson while the Eagles have lost four straight games including last week’€™s 24-19 loss to Florida State.

Read More: boston college, Maryland Terrapins, Pete DeSouza,
Best of the Beanpot 02.01.10 at 2:55 pm ET
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The Beanpot is the most historic event in college hockey, and it has lived up to its billing as of late. Last year’€™s final saw No. 1 Boston University best No. 3 Northeastern, 5-2, thanks to three shorthanded goals. And while the 58th version of the Beanpot might not have as much luster as in recent memory, with only No. 15 Boston College ranked in the USA Today poll, it is sure to bring plenty of memories. With the semifinals starting Monday night ‘€” BC will face Harvard and Northeastern is squaring off against BU ‘€” the time is right to look back on some of the best memories of the last 35 years of the Beanpot.


Jack Parker played on three Beanpot champions and two NCAA Tournament teams, including a runner-up in 1967. So when he took over his former team as coach in the 1973-74 season, Parker knew just what he needed to do to make his team competitive. And while he was a great player, he is arguably the best coach in the history of college hockey. Of the 21 teams he has guided to Beanpot wins, the 1975 Terrier squad was his first.


The Blizzard of ‘€˜78 belted Boston, and the Beanpot felt its effects. With the storm coinciding with the semifinal games of the 26th year of the event, over 11,000 fans braved the weather to get to the Garden. Over 200 fans were left stranded in the Garden, eating leftover hotdogs and popcorn for days. The final between BU and Harvard had to be postponed until the beginning of March, where the Terriers won, 7-1.


Northeastern was always the ‘€œother’€ team in the Beanpot. But in his senior year, Husky legend Wayne Turner gave NU the spotlight with what is remembered by many as the best play in Beanpot history. Turner fired a wrist shot past BC goalie Bob O’€™Connor in overtime, and “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” gave  his team its first Beanpot trophy.


The Eagles break out the ‘€œBeanpot Trot’€ before the final against BU. The hockey gods look down in shame, and BC gets waxed 4-1 in the final by BU.


After rallying from a 2-0 deficit to tie BU, Northeastern looked to be on the verge of winning a fifth Beanpot trophy. But a familiar name in Boston hockey, Bourque, had other thoughts. Chris Bourque, the eldest son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque, scored the game winner in OT to give the Terriers their 26th Beanpot win.


In the highest scoring final since 1996, when BU crushed Northeastern 11-4, BC and Harvard were tied 5-5 at the end of three periods. Eigtheen-year-old freshman Nick Petrecki, who had scored his first collegiate goal earlier in the second period, emerged as the hero for the Eagles thanks to his overtime tally, which gave BC its 14th Beanpot win.

Read More: beanpot, boston college, boston university, harvard
Transcript: BC Coach Frank Spaziani on D&C 09.04.09 at 3:13 pm ET
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Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani joined Steve DeOssie, Greg Dickerson and Jon Meterperel on the Dennis & Callahan Show to preview the upcoming season. Coach Spaz and the boys joked about honey-do lists, information sources and DeOssie’s ability to jump back onto the field (or on the sidelines?). 

Highlights from the conversation are below.

Click here for the full audio version.

Coach, what are your nerves like the day before your first game running the helm at Boston College?

Well, I think it’s the normal apprehension, making sure all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted and, you know, what I did I think of what didn’t I think of, blah, blah, blah.

I got a lot of great assistants helping me out, so we are ready to go.

Was there ever a point throughout this preseason or throughout this whole process since January, when you were hired, when you felt overwhelmed?

No. Never. I think there’s two ways to go with new jobs; you’re either overwhelmed or energized and I was the latter.

Coach, so far in the preseason and training camp overall with a guy like Mark Herzlich going down, how has your defense been able to step up? How have the guys reacted to his absence?

Well, you know, Steve, you played. There is a reaction and we’re going to miss these guys but it’s life, it’s sports, it’s whatever it is. But, you know, certainly going to miss him but we’ve got to go on. We’ve got to play Saturday at two o’clock and when it gets down to it, you know, you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to move on and make the best of it and somebody’s got to pick up the sword and move forward.

Who are your most pleasant surprises over the last month in camp?

Well, we’ve had, a lot of the younger guys, you know, this class that we had coming in they look like they are real prospects and a lot of the younger guys that have had to step up have done a good job. But the biggest surprise has been how well everybody’s adapted to the new staff, the players and making progress. I mean, we’re getting better everyday, believe me, we have a long way to go, but we are getting better everyday.

You look at the two-deep (depth chart) coach and there is redshirt freshman and true freshman. It’s all around that two-deep and I know that might be daunting for some coaches but you feel that you are well armed because have Gary Tranquill running your offense and you promote Bill McGovern to run the defense, what does that mean for your team?

Well, first of all, Gary is a Hall of Fame coach. He might be one of the best football coaches I have ever been around. Well, he certainly is, let me say that. He’s one of the best coaches in the country. He’s been through a lot of things and if there is anybody who can handle the issues over there on offense it’s Gary. I mean he’s not going to be thrown off-kilter by anything we have over there. 

And Billy, I’ve worked with Billy for 10 years, you know, the system’s in place and, you know, Billy’s getting his chance to do what he can do.

Deossie wanted the gig, I think.

Well, he’s uh. . . we’ll let him play. . .

How do you see the ACC stacking up this year? It’s going to be pretty good competition this year across the board.

Well, the thing about the league is, well, you know, we had our conferences meetings down there early on, and this year a lot of the teams have better quarterback situations. Not us withstanding. But, most of the teams have quarterbacks coming back, they’ve played for a while and usually that’s a good sign for a league.

You talked about the quarterback situation. Does that keep you up at night and how do you think it sorts itself out over the next few weeks and the first part of the season?

Well, a lot of things keep me up at night and that might be the 1:30 or two o’clock feeding but it’s going to sort itself out. We have young men there and they each have redeeming qualities and we would have hoped that it would have been a little clearer right now but that’s not the case, so we have to play and see how it sorts itself out and hopefully these guys will separate from one another and we will be a little more solid at that position.

You’re going to start Justin Tuggle tomorrow. . . first career start, redshirt freshman. . .

We are?!

Is that the word? You tell me. You tell me. My sources indicate.

Sources?! You’re talking to the source!

What we have is that either Dave (Shinskie) or Justin (Tuggle) is going to start the game and Mike (Marscovetra) is going to plan. I mean, that’s the plan right now. And, once again, it’s a game and, you know, we have to win. So, we are going to do what’s best for the team but we have to keep in mind that winning is what’s best for the team.

Hey, Uncle Dave Shinskie, you mention him. If he does start tomorrow it will be his first snap in seven years. What do you like about him?

First of all Dave is, obviously, Dave has some maturity on him. He’s been around the block a little, done some things. And, he has the skills, he has the physical talent to be a quarterback at this level. Once again, what he hasn’t done is taken snaps and we have to find that out about him. Unfortunately he missed a couple scrimmages so the evaluation process was set back a little.

Coach, your take on what happened in Tampa yesterday and your predecessor with coach Jags being let go by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday?

Well, let me just say this, I don’t really have a take on it but my thoughts are with Jeff and his family because anytime you have that anxiety or that kind of turmoil, it’s your personal issues and your family that need to be addressed first.

Fair, unfair, that a guy like Rahim Morris calls him a guy that wasn’t a details guy or a guy that wasn’t precise? Did you see anything like that in your time with him at Boston College?

Well, once again, the situation with Boston College and the situation at Tampa . . . I’m not at Tampa. All I know is that we won a lot games here at Boston College with Jeff as the head coach.

Tom O’Brien’s (N.C. State) Wolf Pack lose last night to South Carolina 7-3. I talked to you early and you thought it would be a pretty high scoring game. What do you think went wrong for them?

That’s what happens when you predict. That’s why you guys do what you do and that’s why I did what I do.

I know for the ACC, it’s a pride thing. They had a stat last night, SEC 237 wins, ACC 114 wins head-to-head. What does that tell you?

I don’t know what that tells me. Master of the obvious, that the SEC has won more games than the ACC. It’s all individual basis and it’s all about what’s happening now and sports and that’s why you play them. I don’t read much into it really. I don’t have time to. Once again it’s great for the fans, it’s great for the media. Gives you something to talk about, right?

How about, who’s starting at outside linebacker for me?

Dominick LeGrande? There’s some young guys at linebacker though?

There certainly are. I had to write letters to all their parents to get permission.

We saw that also Herzlich was on campus again this week. Any good word out of that camp there?

Yeah. Best as I can determine just talking with Mark is that everything is going just like they want, they get the results that they want. He’s getting some of his treatments here and he’s going to be around the squad as much as his doctors allow. And, that’s great for us and more importantly great for him.

He’s a special kid and a special player and he’s certainly redefined that position for us over there beyond my wildest imagination. We’re just hoping that the best can come out of the whole deal and we will see him back in uniform.

Read More: bc, bill mcgovern, boston college, coach spaz
Quarterback Still in Doubt But Eagle Offense Ready to Soar 09.02.09 at 8:27 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL ‘€“ One of the best lines from the 1995 movie Four Rooms comes in the fourth of the four rooms when Quentin Tarantino’s character says “those who make declarative statements are more likely to look foolish in retrospect.”

Not that Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani fears to look foolish, it is just that when it comes to his quarterback situation, he deigns to make any declarative statements.

With Saturday’s season opener against Northeastern looming, Spaziani has yet to name his starter and there is a good probability that we will not know until the first snap is taken.

In the conversation are three very different types freshman: 25 year old former minor league baseball player David Shinskie, redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle and true freshman Mike Marscovetra. Shinskie has complicated the discussion from last week (when it looked like a Tuggle versus Codi Boek battle) by coming back from a cracked rib to practice this week. He has been taking reps in practice along with Tuggle.

“We’re still deciphering it. Hopefully Uncle Dave (Shinskie) will be out here practicing again and he can get a good practice in and it will be Tuggle and Uncle Dave and Marscovetra third,” Spaziani said. “Now, who’s going to start the game? One of those three guys is.”

The guess is that Tuggle and Shinskie will both play significant amounts against Northeastern as the coaching staff looks to separate the two on the depth chart.

“We’ve scrimmaged and now we put guys in the game. We hoped that they would have separated themselves but that hasn’t happened. So now the next place to separate themselves is on the field,” Spaziani said.

Shinskie told reporters today that his side is “still a little tender” but that he is ready to go. When asked if was pushing himself for the opener he offered and enthusiastic yes.

“Oh my god. I had to do it, I don’€™t care what kind of pain I was in. If I had to take six ibproufen instead of four, I was going to do it. Even my highschool coach called me up and told me ‘€˜get out there.’€™ So, it was very important, you know, just to be able to stand on the sidelines, you know,” Shinskie said. “Just to be out there is something that I really want to do.”

 Outside the quandary at quarterback, there is a buzz around the Citadel on Chestnut Hill. The offense, now with a solidified depth chart at every other position, is excited to get the ball rolling. Spaziani seamed pleased with the progress they have made during the last week.

“They’re making progress every day. Offense is doing really well. They’ve got to be ready to go and they will be ready to go. Now, are they going to be as good as they’re going to be? No,” Spaziani said. “They’ve got a ways to go but obviously we get a quarterback that we’re solidified in that position, that’ll help.”

 With the dynamic sophomore duo of Montel Harris and Josh Haden at running back and captain wide receiver Rich Gunnell poised for a big senior season, there is reason for excitement. But the real reason for the buzz is the fact that the Eagles are returning four of their five juggernauts on the offensive line and the fifth (red-shirt freshman Emmett Cleary) is a titan at 6-foot 7-inches and 297 pounds. Boston College has a history of good offensive linemen and the beasts in the trenches are throwing around the “O-Line U” tag line to help describe this years bunch.

“What people are kind of expecting, kind of saying — O-Line U. A lot of people are starting to say this is turning back into O-Line U. With the four returning starters that we do have, just with the size up front, being able to move people around up front, goes back to the old offenses, just the old offensive scheme, being able to move the ball around the field,” Junior right guard Thomas Claiborne said.

Claiborne, like some of his offensive teammates, exuded confidence, flashing sneaky smiles at the thought of pummeling opposing defenses. Tuggle, for one, shares this sentiment.

“The guys in front of you are veterans, they’€™ve been around and they help you out as much as they can. And they’€™re the solid O-Line U. Everyone knows about them all around the country, it’€™s good to know that you got five guys in front of you who are ready to protect you each and every play,” Tuggle said.

Joining Claiborne and left guard Cleary are two All-ACC Preseason Team members are junior left tackle Anthony Costonzo and senior center Matt Tennant. Hulking junior Rich Lapham, all 322 pounds of him, mans the right tackle position. There is a lot of size and experience to like.

“So, it helps,” Spaziani said. “The more experience you have the better off you are because you can’t coach experience.”

Harris’s eyes lit up when talking about the big boys in front of him. 

‘€œReal confident. A lot of offensive line coming back from last year, we are able to relax more and be comfortable on the field, so, it should be fun this year,’€ Harris said. ‘€œThomas Claiborne. Every play before he tells me to follow behind him cause he’€™s going to throw me a block.’€

So, with the bedrock offensive line and talent at running back, it is understandable that Spaziani does not seem too worried about who will start at quarterback against Northeastern, a team not normally known for its football prowess (2-10, 1-7 in CAA play last year).

“The reason it’s vague (the quarterback position) is because we don’t have one. We don’t have one yet so it doesn’t make a difference in my mind. I know everybody wants it, who is it, make a decision. It it was going to make a big difference we would make a decision but it’s not going to make a difference,” Spaziani said.

With two games against lesser out of conference opponents at home to start the season (Northeastern then Kent State on September 12th) Spaziani has time to sort things out under center, whichever flavor of freshman he decides to go with.

Read More: boston college, David Shinskie, Frank Spaziani, justin tuggle
Herzlich: No doubt in my mind at 4:15 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Mark Herzlich understands the skepticism. He’s just not going to give into it.

The Boston College linebacker and 2008 ACC Defensive player of the year, who had the NFL in his sights like another quarterback target, was blindsided in May when he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma.

Suddenly, he wasn’t as busy thinking about the NFL as he was surviving. But after a summer of chemotherapy and radiation treatment on the malignant cancerous tumor, the senior believes he will be back on the field for B.C. in 2010.

“There’s no doubt in my mind,” Herzlich said on Wednesday at The Heights. “There’s doubt in other people’s minds. It’s basically once we find out in November how the chemotherapy finished up and how I react to running and lift, then we can make a final decision. I’m very confident in how it will turn out.”

So, three days before the team opens their 2009 season at home against Northeastern, the coaching staff just got an addition.

“I’m going to be on the field, helping to coach the guys, the linebackers,” he added. “Hopefully, be moral support and inspiration to the other guys and just be a leader. I can be a leader in the same way as I would on the field. I just won’t be in uniform.”

“What it does for me, it makes me feel real good,” added head coach Frank Spaziani. “Just sitting around there and it’s real positive. He’s just a great kid and I’m sure it affects the players just like it affects me.”

(Herzlich spoke with’s Mike Petraglia on Wednesday about the uphill battle he faces and about being determined to overcome cancer.) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: boston college, Frank Spaziani, Mark Herzlich,
Eyeing the Eagles: Five Things We Learned From BC’s Wednesday Scrimmage 08.27.09 at 6:34 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — The quarterback carousel at Boston College continues. After their fourth intra-squad scrimmage of camp the Eagles are not yet ready to determine the primary man underneath center come the season opener September 5th against Northeastern.

Head Coach Frank Spaziani has an interesting dilemma. The probable front-runner, 25-year old Dave Shinskie, is on the shelf with a cracked rib. His absence had redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle and junior Codi Boek leading the offenses in the final tune-up of camp.

At the start, it was Tuggle who was the star. Running the firstteam offense, Tuggle started off on fire, going 7-10 for 115 yards in the first half. The crowning moment was a nifty 41-yard touchdown bomb to top receiver Rich Gunnell on the first drive of the game.

But it was downhill from there. He did not complete a pass in the second half, going 0-9 with erratic passes sailing over or bouncing to intended receivers. Yet Tuggle has placed himself in the quarterback discussion, which was not a sure thing at the beginning of camp.

‘€œIn the beginning of this whole debate he was somewhere else on the ladder and he took a licking he come back ticking, right? He could have went two ways and he went the positive way. So that means a lot and he made progress,’€ Spaziani said. ‘€œTuggle has made a lot of strides, a lot of strides and you’€™ve got to project. But he has made strides.’€œ

Boek ran the second-team offense and had his moments mixed with embarrassments. He fumbled the first snap of the scrimmage on the exchange from center and later had a tipped pass at the line intercepted by junior Domik Scafe. Boek finished the day 7-9 for 94 yards with the interception and a touchdown. The score was more a product of red shirt freshman Clyde Lee’€™s 45-yard burst through the secondary after a catch on a short crossing route than on Boek’€™s prowess, but the junior will take what he can get.

‘€œCodi, showed some flashes, showed some flashes,’€ Spaziani said.

Spaziani would probably like to see Shinskie step up and take the job, but until the trainers clear him, the coach’€™s hands are tied.

‘€œIf you’€™ve got a solidified one, then the second gets less reps. It looks to me now with talking to [offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill] that we’€™re probably going to have to play two quarterbacks,’€ Spaziani said.

Here are the other lessons we learned from Wednesday’€™s scrimmage. 

Defense Still Looking For Its Leader

The other big news on campus for the day was the return of star middle linebacker Mark Herzlich to campus. Herzlich, a Butkus Award finalist for the nation’€™s top linebacker last year, was diagnosed with cancer in his leg and will miss the entire year. He plans on finishing his degree this fall and looks forward to a comeback next year.

As much as he and the rest of the BC team looks forward to his return,, his absence this year leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the Eagles’€™ defense. Senior captain Mike McLaughlin is still out and sophomore incumbent Will Thompson has been nursing injuries, leaving the duties to true freshman Luke Kuechly. Like the offense, the situation is not ideal but Spaziani will work with what he’€™s got.

‘€œPlus we have the middle linebacker nowhere to be seen yet. The quarterback position is more solidified than the middle linebacker,’€ Spaziani said.

Kuechly recorded three tackles during the scrimmage.

‘€œOnce again you’€™ve got a true freshman over there and Will Thompson’€™s been out. That’€™s a big order for a guy to do, true freshman quarterbacking the [defense],’€ Spaziani said. 

Ground Game Will Have to Carry the Load

If there is anything set on this team, it is the running back position. Sophomore Montel Harris, coming off a team freshman record 900 yards last season, will be looked upon to carry the load. Yesterday he got the bulk of the carries with 12 attempts for 53 yards and a touchdown. He also fumbled once.

Behind him, fellow sophomore Josh Haden is coming off a 479-yard freshman campaign. Haden logged six attempts for 26 yards on the day.

With injury and inexperience bogging down both sides of the ball, the ability of this dynamic duo to put up big numbers (and stay healthy) will be a huge factor in determining how much success BC is going to have this fall. 

Defensive Line Looking to Step Up

It is tough to lose your top defensive players to the NFL and come back the next year with any semblance of firepower. With B.J. Raji in Green Bay and Ron Brace up the road in Foxborough, the Eagles are looking for players to step up.

Yet, injuries are once again an issue, forcing Spaziani to move senior Austin Giles inside to nose tackle and patch around from there. The move is probably not permanent but, like so much else, in the short term it is a matter of necessity.

‘€œWe always focus on the quarterbacks here but there are a lot of other uncertainties over there on defense. [Kaleb] Ramsey not practicing, [Nick] Rossi not practicing,’€ Spaziani said.

Who needs to step up?

‘€œEverybody,’€ Spaziani said. ‘€œWe need Ramsey to step up, we need [Damik] Scafe. Scafe has been a part-time player. Ramsey has not played at all, suddenly Rossi has helped us over there but, you know, he being injured and stuff.’€

Junior Brad Newman, a career second-unit man, looked decent in the scrimmage, logging two sacks on six tackles. He, among others, will be relied upon in the regular season to help make up for the losses to the pros and the injury ward. 

Adventures In Special Teams

Redshirt freshman punter Gerald Levano had an up-and-down day. He looked good placing the ball inside the 20, spiking two directly on the 13-yard line, yet did not show good distance when kicking from his own end zone. On two attempts he had trouble clearing the 50-yard line and did not look good in the process.

On the same note, the extra-point attempt on Gunnell’€™s touchdown was blocked by sophomore cornerback Donnie Fletcher. Spaziani said that Thursday’€™s practice would focus on the kicking game while the rest of the week will be devoted to finalizing the depth chart and tuning up for Northeastern.

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